Many HR leaders are predicting that 2019 will be the year of Employee Experience . The growing interest comes from the realization that there are huge returns to be gained from paying thoughtful attention to the design of every employee interaction. These include faster onboarding, improved engagement, increased productivity and the ability to attract and retain great talent.
Implementing an exceptional experience means paying attention to every meaningful relationship, interaction and environment people encounter throughout their employee lifecycle. However, designing and achieving an ideal experience involving thousands of employee interactions can be a daunting task. The good news is that many of the benefits can be gained by paying attention to just a few low hanging fruit. What follows are examples of simple actions that offer a great return on investment.
Acknowledge and Celebrate
Studies show that 50% of employees believe that merely being thanked by managers not only improved their relationship but also built trust with their higher-ups [Cicero]. Acknowledging an employee for making significant effort and doing great work is highly motivating. Conversely, when an employee feels like their efforts have been taken for granted, it has the opposite effect. A good strategy to promote a culture that encourages acknowledgement is to lead by example. Leaders should ensure that hard work and exceptional effort is praised both publicly and consistently. This can be accomplished by celebrating and acknowledging promotions, completed projects, milestones, OKRs achieved, birthdays, marriages and any other successes.
Focus on Individual Needs and Desires
While it is difficult to address the needs and desires of every employee at all times, showing that you are both aware of and sympathetic to each individual particular context is critical. One simple example is to promote flexible working hours for working parents. Another is to increase the number of “work from home” days allowed. The main takeaway is to listen to employee needs frequently and to publicly acknowledge them. This will promote a culture of compromise and flexibility and allow you to adjust and rethink policies when required.
Develop Relationships through 1-on-1 Meetings
Regular 1-on-1 meetings between managers and their team members are critical for ensuring a clear and open communication channel. They provide an opportunity for managers to gauge employee morale and address any concerns or major issues upfront, before they escalate.
managers who skip 1-on-1s are 3 to 6 times more likely to face morale issues on his or her team.
Our analysis of company culture and related outcomes across many organizations has shown that managers who skip 1-on-1s are 3 to 6 times more likely to face morale issues on his or her team.
Conduct Exit Interviews
Exit interviews are one of the few opportunities to gather objective feedback on your current employee experience. Collecting this data and prioritizing actions based on common issues or patterns is a great way to fast track your progress toward an exceptional experience.
First impressions matter. Not only in life but in the employee-employer relationship as well. Paying attention to your onboarding process – the first 6 months an employee spends in your organization – can yield significant returns. Start by assessing what a new employee’s first few major milestones are like. Their first day, the end of the first week, the end of the first month, the end of the first 3 months etc. Plan and build a process that ensures each of these milestones includes effective mentorship, clear communication and the opportunity for consistent feedback.
A poor onboarding experience increases the chance of an employee exit in the first year by 2 to 3 times.
Our analysis of the company culture and related outcomes across many organizations shows that onboarding is a particularly sensitive time in an employee’s lifecycle. A poor onboarding experience increases the chance of an employee exit in the first year by 2 to 3 times.
It should now be apparent there are a number of “low hanging fruit” to improve employee experience. Focusing on a few key areas will have real and significant impact on employees and your organization. These five simple ideas are easy to implement and will work to create a happier, healthier and more productive workplace.